Inventive with spices and seasonings, DaVita dietitian Ann from Maryland modified two recipes, Beef Chipotle Burritos and Slow Slow Chicken to make them friendly for a kidney diet but tasty enough for the whole family.
Ann is originally from North Carolina, but has lived in Maryland for the past 25 years. She hopes to retire one day to the coast of North Carolina where the pace is a little slower. She attended the University of North Carolina and earned an undergraduate degree in nutrition and institution management. She completed a Dietetic internship and Masters Degree in Nutrition at Emory University.
After working in the hospital setting for a number of years, Ann was looking for a change of pace and the renal field met that need. Knowing Ann was looking for a change, a friend told her about an opening for a renal dietitian with DaVita. Her friend has since retired, but Ann is grateful that she alerted her to the opening.
Ann admits that “patience is a virtue” in her work. “Being patient with people and being a good listener are the biggest challenges of my job. Sometimes you want to make a patient change a habit, but you really have to wait until they are ready to make the change. You can be persistent and provide the educational information, but the patient has to take ownership of the problem” she says. “Another challenge is tactfully correcting misinformation that patients and staff sometimes have about diet and nutrition.
The most rewarding aspect of the job, in Ann’s opinion, is being able to see patients on a regular basis, which gives her time to provide education, see the results and develop a relationship with them. Working with a wide variety of ages and personalities also keeps things interesting. She is continually amazed by the determination and resilience that many of her patients display in dealing with their medical condition and other issues.
Ann’s main approach with patients and their diets involves focusing on the positive and the old cliché “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” But when there are issues to work on, she enjoys helping patients see that with moderation and portion control, many foods can fit into their diets and nutrition-related outcomes will improve. The single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is, of course, coming to treatment. Additionally, she tries to encourage all patients who are able to find some type of exercise or movement that they can add to their usual routine.
Ann has been with DaVita for 6 years. “We have a stable group of nice people to work with,” she says, “and the commute is doable. I enjoy the people I work with!”
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